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Between a Broc & a hard place

Broc Cellars 2009 Roussanne (El Dorado) – Tastes natural, but not Natural…by which I mean it tastes like an authentic attempt to express roussanne (I’ve not had sufficient El Dorado County roussanne to speak to terroir-expression) without the trappings of biological spoilage or cultish ephemerae, but with one foot in the orange wine camp. But anyway: stone fruit, adhesive and dense, with a mysterious sense of space illuminated in ultraviolet. And then, tannic. Let’s not leave out the macerative component, perhaps not (strictly speaking) roussanne-as-roussanne, but which in this case provides more of a contrapuntal complexity than a true rethinking. (11/11)

Red light

Beckmen 2007 Roussanne Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Rich and smooth. Spiced nuts. This wine reeks of confidence.

Roussanne to judgment

Texier 2010 Côtes-du-Rhône Roussanne (Rhône) – When I was first introduced to Texier’s wines, back in the late 90s, his CdR blanc was a regular hit-it-out-of-the-park surprise for Rhône aficionados, especially at its ridiculously low price. And then, due to vagaries of the market or whatever, it disappeared from my life. Well, it hasn’t gotten much more expensive, but it has gotten even better. Rolling spiced stone fruit, with much more life and verve than is typical for the genre, and a pretty twist of flowers as it finishes. Delicious. (11/11)

Roussanne, don’t walk away

JP Brun “Terres Dorées” 2008 Vin de Table Roussanne (Beaujolais) – Bright. A roussanne, bright? Oh yes. Aromatic honeysuckle with other flowers, yes. But not heavy at all. Instead, its fresh with good acidity, and really, really good. (6/10)

Creek summer

[label]Tablas Creek 2006 Roussanne (Paso Robles) – Wax, ripe stone fruit, coppered cashews, and surprising balance; the usual fat and alcohol-tinged headiness is well-countered by fair acidity and a certain deftness of fruit. I suspect that this could age, and I’ve no reason to doubt it based on the raw materials at hand, but it’s quite approachable now. (7/09)

London arenas

[label]Domaine de la Terre Rouge 2003 “RO2X” (Sierra Foothills) – An interesting tribute to the partially-oxidized style of wine one can find all over Europe, but rarely (except by accident) here. The grape is roussanne, and its Californian interpretation is most definitely on display here, as despite relatively restrained rancio there’s a great deal of lush golden fruit of an intensity not usually found in its old world models. This upsets the balance somewhat, but that could just as easily be a matter of expectations. I find this wine most enjoyable, and wholeheartedly support further experiments in this direction. Plus, anyone who loves a good pun as much as me has to like the name. (1/09)


[bottle]A Donkey and Goat 2006 “Tamarindo” Roussanne (El Dorado) – For about five minutes after opening, toasted fruit aromatics rush from the glass, heralding a weighty but not overblown palate. And then, as that initial burst of uncorked goodness diffuses, it goes immediately and completely to hell…overwhelmed with volatile acidity, for starters, and bringing up some nasty, decaying animal scents from the cellar. (“Smells like a cow vomited and then died on top of it,” opines one drinking companion.) Really terrible, and an absolutely horrendous value. (1/09)

Vodka, kahlua, cream

[label]Tablas Creek 2003 Roussanne (Paso Robles) – From a dubious source, but holding well, with the palate a little broader than in previous bottles. It’s still thick with stone fruit lushness, with spice malingering in the foreground, but there’s a bit of snap to it that wasn’t there before, and it could be headed somewhere more promising…especially from good storage, which this bottle has not seen. (7/08)

Turn on the red light

[label]Tablas Creek 2003 Roussanne (Paso Robles) – This wine is always more angular than I expect given the grape and the region, though it’s capable of responding to food by a little more self-assertion. Waxy stone fruit blows around a windy desert catacomb, the tan earth etched and buffeted by a certain desiccation, yet the finish remains strong (if a very slight bit hot). A strange wine. Maybe it’s just closed? (11/07)

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